What's In-Store Music artist Frank Shiner has not one but two singles on the WISM Top 30 Chart: "Rainy Night in Georgia" and "How Can I Be Sure," just in time for the release of his album, Lonely Town, Lonely Street, available May 19th. Frank's "re-entry" into the music business is a touching one as he explains below ...
You’ve said, “I don’t do ‘covers,’ I reinterpret songs. If I can’t put my own spin on something, I won’t do it.” What goes into making these recordings your own and how do you choose the songs you re-create?
A song must move me in some way. I must have an emotional connection to it or it should tell a great story and I have to like it musically. I close my eyes and listen to a song and I usually know by the bridge if it's something I would like to do. The song also must have enough space in it for me to play. Even if I really like the song, if it's too rigid with its melody/lyrics/rhythm and there is no room to be creative, I’ll pass. To me, there is no point in doing a song exactly the way it has been done before.
You’ve re-created the works of The Rascals, Brook Benton, Sam & Dave, Elton John and Bill Withers, and more. If you could record a duet with anyone (living or deceased), who would that be?
A very good question and a very tough question, because there are not enough days left in life to be able to do a duet with the list of people I would love to sing with. Of the ones on the album, however, I think I would love to sing with Bill Withers. I would hope that by singing with him, some of his "cool" might rub off on me.
You had put your music career on hold for the benefit of your family. What prompted your return to the spotlight and start making music again?
Well, the nagging desire never did stop. And then, one afternoon, while my wife was going through chemo for an aggressive form of breast cancer, we stopped, randomly, at a restaurant for a quick bite. They were having an open mic night with an orchestra and she put my name down and insisted that I sing her a song. She forced me up there and I went under intense protest. After singing about three songs with the band I was on my way out the door when the bandleader chased after me and asked me to sing with his orchestra on future shows. The rest is history.
You’ve done theater, TV and music. Which art form is most enjoyable to you, and why?
Although I love it all, my favorite would have to be a live venue … whether the theater or a music venue. The live energy with an audience is second to none. Now put the two together and make a musical, or musical show like the ones I have been doing at The Cutting Room, 54 Below and other venues around the country; and that ranks right up there at the top.
Your latest release, LONELY TOWN, LONELY STREET, comes out this month. Tell us about the project and what exciting tracks we can expect to hear.
You are going to hear songs with meaningful lyrics which tell a story and convey real emotion ... and the emotions can go as deep as the listener wishes. It is not superficial, cotton candy emotion. It is not mere rhythm with no meaning.
Finally, a shameless plug … What would you like our readers to know about you?
I would like them to know that I am a regular guy who is simply not afraid to try something ... not afraid to follow a dream. Life is short. I just want to experience everything I can experience and be a positive influence, always. I want to leave everything and everybody better then when I found them. I may not always succeed, but I will die trying.